Columbus Municipal Airport officials plan to improve the impression first-time visitors have when they arrive on flights landing at the airport this year.
They will give the airport’s 1980s-style terminal a facelift inspired by ideas put forth by interior design students at Ivy Tech Community College — Columbus/Franklin.
The modern sleek-looking terminal continues to serve its intended purpose, but just needs updating including a fresh coat of paint, new floors and ceilings, installation of more efficient lighting and upgrades to the pilots lounge and briefing room and two conference rooms, said Airport Director Brian Payne.
“It’s just time for it to be done,” he said.
“It’s the first and last place people see when flying into and out of Columbus.”
Payne said the city’s Aviation Commission will consider hiring a consultant to put together specifications for the project during a Tuesday meeting. The goal would be to have the specifications back by the April meeting so the work can begin this spring.
“We’re having a big aviation day on June 7, but I don’t think it can be finished by then,” Payne said.
Airport officials have been working with Ivy Tech interior design students to put together some ideas for the project, but it’s now to the point where a consultant needs to be hired to finish the designs and specifications, Payne said.
“They (the Ivy Tech students) gave us the idea that we certainly need to go ahead with the project,” Payne said.
Jan Banister, Ivy Tech’s program chair for interior design, said six to eight students participated in the redesign project.
Sharon McGuire, 49, of Bloomington, was one of those students.
McGuire, who plans to wrap up her associate degree in interior design in the spring of 2015, said she spent about 10 hours working on the project and enjoyed it because it was a real-life experience.
“We had to interview people,” said McGuire, who focused on the pilots lounge.
McGuire said Banister works hard to connect students with community projects because they provide that real-life experience and help the community as well.
“It’s just something I like and enjoy doing,” McGuire said of her pursuit of a career in interior design. She’s taking a break from school this winter and spring, but is working part-time at a kitchen and bath design firm in Bloomington.
McGuire said the terminal project is just another example of Ivy Tech and the community work together.
Some of the other students involved in the project have since graduated and taken jobs. Those still involved, such as McGuire, may work with the consultant once the board of aviation commissioners put that company in place.
“We’re willing to meet with them,” Banister said if airport officials want that to happen.
Interior design students began working with the board more than a year ago, Banister said. That work started after then chancellor John Hogan approached Banister about the idea, Banister said.
The students put together a presentation of potential ideas for alterations. They had the luxury of using the as-built plans from architect Frank Adams because Banister is a member of the board of the Columbus Area Architectural Archives. The presentation also include some 3-D designs of how rooms such as the pilots lounge could be redone.
Students did not have to participate in the project, Banister said. “It wasn’t a class assignment,” she said.
A project allows students to meet with airport commission members.
The idea is for consultants to incorporate some of the student’s ideas into the final plans, Payne said.
There’s also a potential that artwork from Ivy Tech students may be displayed on the walls of a long hallway in the terminal, Payne said. Those walls are presently bare and adding the artwork might encourage visitors to the terminal to browse around and even stop by his office for a visit, he said.
Payne described the relationship between the airport and Ivy Tech as important because the college’s main Columbus campus is located at the airport on the city’s north side.
The terminal renovation project is just one of several in progress or scheduled this year.
“We have a lot of projects going on right now,” Payne said.
A project to replace the terminal’s roof, which has been leaking, is slated for the spring, Payne said.
The airport saw a decline in the number of flight operations this past year to 37,884; in 2012 there were 40,364.
“It’s still a good number,” Payne said.
He said operations often are contingent on the weather.
“We had a couple of pretty bad months at the end of the year,” Payne said. “And the first couple of months have been pretty bad this year. The numbers are not looking the greatest.”
Payne said there are some changes including a self-service fuel station coming that airport officials hope will increase operations. The hope is the fuel station will bring in more pilots of smaller planes, Payne said.
Ivy Tech is starting a new aviation school this fall and there also is a new flight school opening at the airport, Payne said.